Report Sheds Light on Grizzly Bear Mauling at Yellowstone

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has released a detailed report on the August 2015 grizzly bear attack that killed hiker Lance Crosby, 63.

The results do not shed any new light on why Crosby was attacked, but it does reveal the grim details that led to his death and a reiteration of safety precautions that every hiker can take. 

Crosby was a well-known fixture in Yellowstone National Park as a seasonal employee at the Lake Medical Clinic at Lake Village and a frequent hiker. 

On Aug 6, 2015, he was killed by a grizzly bear. What made this particular mauling especially scary was the fact that the bear had partially eaten the man’s body, something rarely seen in fatal bear attacks. 

Most of the time, bears attack out of fear or to protect their cubs. The discovering of Crosby’s body buried by debris and bit marks out of his flesh suggested that this could be a predatory attack. 

There’s no telling why the bear attacked Crosby because he was hiking alone, but it’s suspected that the female grizzly did so to protect her cubs, were captured along with the mother a few days after the incident. 

In determining it was the bear that attacked Crosby, investigators conducted DNA tests on hair fibers and scat near the kill site. 

The mother was later euthanize and the cubs sent to a zoo. In putting the bear down, wildlife officials explained that bears easily adapt to new food sources and if left alive this grizzly could present a risk to other hikers. 

In the past year preceding the attack, 327 reports of grizzly bear activity occurred within a 30 km radius.

To help reduce the dangers of grizzly bear attacks wildlife officials reiterated the following safety tips: Hike in groups of at least three people, carrying bear spray, make noise, don’t run and be vigilant.

Photo credit: US Fish and Wildlife